by Kimber Westphall
It’s officially engagement season in Dallas! With chillier temps, twinkling lights, and enough holiday spirit to make anyone believe in miracles, it’s no surprise that fall and winter are the perfect time for a romantic proposal. Here is your ultimate proposal how-to for the holidays.
Be a “Man with a Plan” and Enlist the Help You Need
These days, proposals involve more than just finding the perfect ring. From making arrangements with the venue, to booking a professional photographer, to organizing family and friends for a celebration, proposing involves more consideration than ever before. With the holiday season being extra busy and crowded, pre-coordination is often necessary.
Some enlist the help of a proposal planner. That’s right, a proposal planner.
“We send lots of details to the clients as we plan so they have step-by-step game plans and know exactly how the whole event will unfold,” Elie Cantrell, lead marriage proposal planner at The Yes Girls Events, says. “That does tend to help ease the nerves a bit, but of course they are still a little nervous.”
Another proposal planner, Meaghan Cody, at Planning for Dudes notes that 40 percent of engagements in Dallas actually happen between November and February each year. Whether or not the proposer is employing an army of helpers, it’s important to have a plan. Jitters and excitement are bound to kick in. So it’s important to have somewhat of a plan to help keep the sequence of events on track and allow for the proposal to contain the perfect element of surprise.
“Once you get the ring it is extremely hard to hold onto it. To keep yourself from popping the question earlier than planned, hire a photographer so that you have a set time and location,” Cody says. “This should help you from getting down on one knee in the Eatzi’s parking lot.”
Choose a Location Filled with Holiday Cheer
Cantrell says that even in the dead of winter, many of her Dallas clients want to get engaged outside. With visions of Highland Park Village’s majestic lights or a candlelit terrace at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, why would you want to stay indoors? Usually the Texas weather cooperates, even in December.
Of course, you can’t go wrong with a tried-and-true Dallas engagement destination.
Cody says that many downtown locations are popular for proposals, including Reunion Tower, the Belmont Hotel, and, newly, Klyde Warren Park.
Each of these iconic Dallas spots are inherently romantic. Cody notes that the Arboretum is a trusty standby, especially when the trees and flora are decked out in the holiday trimmings. When the location speaks for itself, the proposal can flow more organically.
Highland Park Village is perhaps the most obvious and dreamlike destination for a proposal. Be it amidst a carriage ride, or purely strolling beneath the glittery glow, there is something especially magical about the Village during the holidays. Aside from a carriage ride reservation and remembering to put the ring in your pocket, there’s little set-up required.
Use Timing To Create an Element of Surprise
Say you’ve been dating for a while, and you’ve discussed the idea of tying the knot. How do you keep it a surprise if you take your future fiancé to a place known for proposals during the holidays?
“I think that by trying to throw off your soon-to-be-bride by planning to propose a few days before or after Christmas is key,” Cody says. “I always encourage soon-to-be-grooms to think about days that would be the most obvious.” The holiday vibes can still be enjoyed by choosing a random date and time during the season, and the element of surprise is preserved.
“I love watching the girl’s face when she walks into the space,” Cantrell says. “That moment of raw emotion when she realizes that her favorite person in the world went through all this trouble to make such a special moment just for her.”
While we don’t typically encourage lying in any relationship, sometimes it’s necessary to bend the truth in order to pull off the ultimate surprise proposal.
Cody recalls ones of the most memorable holiday proposals she helped coordinate involved a total ruse.
“This soon-to-be-groom took his at-the-time-girlfriend to an art show for his boss at the Rosewood Mansion,” Cody says. “They arrived to the art show and there was a table set with pictures of them, flowers, lanterns and guitarist singing “will you marry me.” After the proposal they enjoyed a private dinner on the terrace of the Mansion and FaceTimed all of their favorite people.”
Bottom Line: Make it Heartfelt and a Reflection of Your Relationship
Cantrell says that proposals don’t have to be excessively elaborate and choreographed. She says she encourages proposers to think about what makes their relationship special and unique, and why the holiday season is extra meaningful to the couple. Then she encourages the proposer to hone in on that and build out the plan from there.
One proposal that captured this sentiment was, in fact, a Christmas Eve engagement. Cantrell was working with Dallas resident, Chart, for a proposal for his now wife, Lauren. Her parents got engaged on Christmas Eve, and he knew this would be something Lauren would treasure in honor of her parents.
Lauren had assumed that her parents were visiting town to celebrate Christmas, and nothing else. That night, the couple snuck away on a horse-drawn carriage ride through Highland Park. During the ride, they came upon a special set-up with a mountain of white flowers in Flippen Park. After Chart got down on one knee, family members emerged from hiding, including her parents.
“I think the holidays just remind everyone of family and unconditional love,” Cantrell says. “Those sentiments really are what a marriage is founded on.”